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Review: Tails 4.11

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The Amnesic Incognito Live System (better known as Tails) is a Debian-based live DVD/USB with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user. The distribution ships with several Internet applications, including web browser, IRC client, mail client and instant messenger. The distribution transfers Internet traffic through the Tor network to hide its origin.

One of the project's latest releases was version 4.11. (At the time of writing 4.12 is about to be published, though without any significant new features.) Lately the project has mostly focused on bug fixes and minor tweaks, though Tails 4.11 introduces the option of persistent storage for some of the distribution's settings and data. Persistent storage is not enabled by default, but can be set up using tools included on the live media.

Tails is available for 64-bit (x86_64) computers and its live media is approximately 1.2GB in size. The live media can be written to a DVD or USB thumb drive. There are separate files provided depending on whether we want to write the distribution to DVD or USB media, however I tested and confirmed the DVD image can be written to, and run from, a USB thumb drive if need be.

Early impressions

Booting from the Tails media brings up a welcome screen. This graphical interface offers to either start the desktop session or shutdown the operating system. On this welcome screen we can click buttons to bring up settings options that allow us to select our keyboard layout, language, and locale formats. At the bottom of the welcome window is a button which opens additional settings. These extra settings are security related and allow us to assign a password to the administrator account, enable/disable MAC address spoofing, set whether to allow the "Unsafe Browser" to run, and how to connect to the Tor network or to disable networking entirely.

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OSMC's October update is here with Debian Buster and Kodi 18.8

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As you may have noticed, we didn't release an OSMC update for a while. After a lot of hard work, OSMC's October update is now here featuring Debian 10, codename "Buster" and Kodi 18.8. This yields a number of improvements and is one of our most significant OSMC updates yet. It featurues:

- Better performance
- A larger number of software packages to choose from
- More up to date software packages to choose from

We'd like to thank everyone involved with testing and developing this update.

We continue to work on our improved video stack for Vero 4K and Vero 4K + which brings HDR10+ and 3D MVC support. We also continue to work on Raspberry Pi 4 support and we will shortly make some kernel 5.x test builds available in our forums for currently supported Pi models so we can use a unified kernel code base for all models.

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Also Debian: [sparkylinux] Boostnote

NanoPi R2S & NanoPi NEO3 tested with Armbian – Thermal test, Ethernet and USB performance

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In the first part of the review of NanoPi NEO3 and Nano R2S I checked out the hardware, with both tiny gateways powered by a Rockchip RK3328 processor but a different features as NEO3 includes a Gigabit Ethernet port and a USB 3.0 port, while R2S comes with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port.

I’ve now had time to test both gateways using Armbian 20.08.1 release based on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal. Note that while NanoPi R2S is officially supported by Armbian, NanoPi NEO3 images are currently tagged as “suitable for testing“. Having that said I did not come across any specific issues on NEO3, and it may mostly mean it’s easier to get support on the forums with R2S.


That means Ubuntu 20.04 with Linux 5.8.6, but since Armbian is always updated, I ended the review with Linux 5.8.15. I’ll focus the review on thermal testing, as well as Ethernet and USB performance.

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Google Coral Dev Board mini SBC is now available for $100

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Google Coral SBC was the first development board with Google Edge TPU. The AI accelerator was combined with an NXP i.MX 8M quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor and 1GB RAM to provide an all-in-all AI edge computing platform. It launched for $175, and now still retails for $160 which may not be affordable to students and hobbyists.


The board runs Debian based Mendel Linux distribution developed by Google for Coral boards and supports TensorFlow Lite and AutoML Vision Edge with the latter enabling “fast, high-accuracy custom image classification models”.

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Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

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  • Debian Janitor: How to Contribute Lintian-Brush Fixers

    The Debian Janitor is an automated system that commits fixes for (minor) issues in Debian packages that can be fixed by software. It gradually started proposing merges in early December. The first set of changes sent out ran lintian-brush on sid packages maintained in Git. This post is part of a series about the progress of the Janitor.

  • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, September 2020

    Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

  • Ubuntu Blog: Introducing Ubuntu support for Amazon EKS 1.18

    Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is a fully automated Kubernetes cluster service on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Ubuntu is a popular and proven operating system for both virtual machine and containerized cloud computing. Canonical (the creator and primary maintainer of Ubuntu) is an Amazon partner and works with the EKS team to provide an optimized Ubuntu Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for running Kubernetes on AWS. EKS-optimized Ubuntu AMIs give you the familiarity and consistency of using Ubuntu, optimized for performance and security on EKS clusters.

    Ubuntu optimized AMIs for Amazon EKS and Kubernetes versions 1.17 and 1.18 are now available. These images combine the Ubuntu OS with Canonical’s distribution of upstream Kubernetes that automates K8s deployment and operations. In addition to using a slimmed-down, minimal image these images take advantage of a custom kernel that is jointly developed with AWS.

  • Ubuntu 18.04 Users Can Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Yes, Finally)

    If you’re on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and you’ve been waiting for the prompt that lets you upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS you can relax: it’s rolling out

    Confused? I imagine a lot of people reading this post will be. So I’ll recap: an Ubuntu LTS to LTS upgrade is only “officially” possible once the first point release to the latest LTS has gone live.

    But until it does you can’t upgrade one LTS to the new LTS., not without diving into the command line.

    Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS was released in July. In theory, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users should’ve started to see the “there’s a newer version of Ubuntu” upgrade prompt box on their desktops from this date onwards.

How to try out Debian 11 early

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Unfortunately, Debian 11 is not yet available for download on the official Debian website. The reason for this is that Debian 10 is currently stable, and 11 is not yet marked stable. So, to try out Debian 11, you must first install Debian 10.

There are a few ways to get Debian 10 working, but the best way to go is with the Debian 10 net installer, as it’s only a few megabytes in size and will allow you to download and install the latest Debian 10 packages.

To get Debian 10 set up, you must first create a live USB installer. To start, download the latest Etcher, install it, and launch it. Then, download the Debian 10 net installer ISO to your computer.

Once the Etcher app is installed and the net installer ISO is downloaded to your computer, launch Etcher, and use the app to flash the Debian 10 net installer ISO to USB.

After flashing the Debian 10 net installer ISO to USB, reboot your computer and load into the BIOS. Inside of the BIOS, configure it to boot from USB. Doing so will load up the Debian 10 installer.

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Salsa CI now includes i386 build support

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Salsa CI aims at improving the Debian packaging lifecycle by delivering Continuous Integration fully compatible with Debian packaging. The main Salsa CI's project is the pipeline, that builds packages and run different tests after every git push to Salsa. The pipeline makes it possible to have a quick and early feedback about any issues the new changes may have created or solved, without the need to upload to the archive.

All of the pipeline jobs run on amd64 architecture, but the Salsa CI Team has recently added support to build packages also on i386 architecture. This work started during the Salsa CI Sprint at DebConf20 after the "Where is Salsa CI right now" talk, and required different changes at the core of pipeline to make it possible.

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The 10 Best Debian Based Linux Distributions for Beginners Like Me

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Debian is called the mother of Linux distributions. When I was new to Linux, I always wondered why this “not-so-good-looking” distro is so popular inside the Linux developers community! Especially when there are a lot of modern distributions that are easy to use and have beautiful UIs. Later on, I found out the power of Debian. You will be surprised to know that almost all the popular consumer-level distros are based on Debian. It is so stable and feature-rich that the developers find it easy to build their distros based on Debian rather than building from scratch. However, for some obvious reasons, I get many questions about the best Debian based Linux distributions. So today, I will try to answer and justify this query for my audiences.

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Sparky 4.13

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There is an update of Sparky oldstable 4.13 code name “Tyche” out there. It is based on the Debian oldstable “Stretch”.

• system upgrade from Debian oldstable “Stretch” repos as of October 2, 2020
• Calamares doesn’t refresh package list to avoid breaking installation if Debian or Sparky repo is off
• Sparky repos changed from ‘oldstable’ to named ‘tyche’; make sure you use right Sparky repositories
• Linux kernel upgraded up to 4.9.228-1
• Firefox 78.3.0esr
• Thunderbird 68.12.0
• LibreOffice 4.3.3

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Debian: Sparky Linux, Mailman vs DKIM and Some Reports

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  • Sparky news 2020/09

    The 9th monthly Sparky project and donate report of 2020:

    • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.8.12 & 5.9-rc5
    • added to repos: Browsh, Ciano, Brackets, Cherrytree
    • Sparky 2020.09 of the rolling line released


  • Ian Jackson: Mailman vs DKIM - a novel solution

    Do not configure Mailman to replace the mail domains in From: headers. Instead, try out my small new program which can make your Mailman transparent, so that DKIM signatures survive.


    DKIM is a new anti-spoofing mechanism for Internet email, intended to help fight spam. DKIM, paired with the DMARC policy system, has been remarkably successful at stemming the flood of joe-job spams. As usually deployed, DKIM works like this:

    When a message is originally sent, the author's MUA sends it to the MTA for their From: domain for outward delivery. The From: domain mailserver calculates a cryptographic signature of the message, and puts the signature in the headers of the message.

    Obviously not the whole message can be signed, since at the very least additional headers need to be added in transit, and sometimes headers need to be modified too. The signing MTA gets to decide what parts of the message are covered by the signature: they nominate the header fields that are covered by the signature, and specify how to handle the body.

    A recipient MTA looks up the public key for the From: domain in the DNS, and checks the signature. If the signature doesn't match, depending on policy (originator's policy, in the DNS, and recipient's policy of course), typically the message will be treated as spam.


  • Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS and ELTS - September 2020

    Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

    In September, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability - I was assigned 19.75h for LTS (out of my 30 max; all done) and 20h for ELTS (out of my 20 max; all done).


  • Molly de Blanc: Free Software Activities – September 2020

    I’m attempting to step down from the Outreach team, which is more work than I thought it would be. I had a very complicated relationship with the Outreach team. When no one else was there to take on making sure we did GSoC and Outreachy, I stepped up. It wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing, but it’s important. I’m glad to have more time to focus on other things that feel more aligned with what I’m trying to work on right now.

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today's howtos

  • How To Hide Your Location On Chrome, Firefox, and Edge

    Sought after web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge are enabled with geolocation services that can be used to trace you based on your network location, IP address, and WiFi. Although this feature is useful enough, at the same time it may cause grave privacy concerns. Therefore, it becomes imperative to fake or hides your location from these popular browsers. Geolocation indicates your location and then links it with your web browser or the applications you are using. Many services use your IP address and connected networks to get the information and sync it with the known locations. There are many reasons for which these browsers use your location. At times when you visit some website, you might get notified to confirm your current location and acquire data relevant to your location. Nevertheless, if you wish to hide your location due to some reasons such as when you wish to stay safe from malicious activities i.e. want to access data that is location restricted, this article will be of great help to you!

  • How To Install OwnCloud on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial we will show you how to install OwnCloud on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, as well as some extra required package by OwnCloud

  • How to Maximize Security for the Linux Operating System

    The Linux operating system is the most successful in the free, open-source category. Here are tips on maximizing its security features.

  • Transfer Files Between Computers And Mobile Devices By Scanning QR Codes - OSTechNix

    File transfer between a Computer and a mobile can be done in various methods and using various protocols. Today, we will see a whole new, different approach. This guide explains how to transfer files between computers and mobile devices by scanning QR codes. Yes, you read that right! Say hello to Qrcp, formerly known as Qr-filetransfer, a simple command line file transfer application used to send and receive files over WiFi between a Linux system and a mobile phone by scanning a QR code, without leaving the Terminal. When sending files, Qrcp will bind a web server to the address of your WiFi network interface card on a random port and create a handler for it. The default handler will serve the content and exit the program once the transfer is complete. Similarly, when receiving files, qrcp serves an upload page and handles the transfer.

  • How to Automatically Logout Inactive Linux Users

    Keeping idle shell sessions to a Linux server is possible a security risk. Not to forget that it would consume system resources. Okay, maybe not a single idle session but imagine if you have multiple users accessing the same Linux system remotely and leaving their sessions idle. As a Linux sysadmin, you can see which users are logged in on the system and how long have they been idle. You may manually kick the idle user out but that's tiresome and certainly not very productive.

  • How to Monitor Network Usage with nload in Linux

    If you are a network administrator then you will need to monitor your network bandwidth usage in day-to-day tasks. In this case, nload will help you to makes your job easier. nload is a command-line utility that can be used to monitor network traffic and bandwidth usage in real time. It visualizes the in-comming and out-going traffic using two graphs and also provides additional information like min/max network usage and total transferred data.

qBittorrent 4.3.0 Released with Better HiDPI, Enhanced Theming Support

qBittorrent BitTorrent client 4.3.0 was released as a new major version with new features and various bug-fixes. The new release uses Qt 5.15.1 which offers far better HiDPI support. Theming support has been enhanced, however previous theme bundles will not work properly before the provider updated them. Read more

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

  • Gumstix Introduces CM4 to CM3 Adapter, Carrier Boards for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

    Raspberry Pi Trading has just launched 32 different models of Raspberry Pi CM4 and CM4Lite systems-on-module, as well as the “IO board” carrier board. But the company has also worked with third-parties, and Gumstix, an Altium company, has unveiled four different carrier boards for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, as well as a convenient CM4 to CM3 adapter board that enables the use of Raspberry Pi CM4 on all/most carrier boards for the Compute Module 3/3+.

  • Raspberry Pi CM4 and CM4Lite Modules Launched for $25 and Up

    We were expecting Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 sometimes next year, but Raspberry Pi Trading Limited managed to launch the new module much earlier, as Raspberry Pi CM4 and CM4Lite modules have just been launched with a new, much more compact form factor incompatible with the earlier Compute Modules, an I/O board making use of the new features, and a choice of 32 models with variations in terms of memory and storage capacity, as well as the presence or lack thereof of a WiFi and Bluetooth wireless module.

Kernel: UNIX Time, Bluetooth Bug, Char/Misc and Intel

  • Linux 5.10 Solves the Year 2038 Problem Till Year 2486

    The Year 2000 problem was one of the most severe issues in programs of computerized systems that created havoc in computers and affecting systems worldwide. A little background on why this problem emerged — Ever noticed when a computer or a website asks you to enter the last two digits of the year? Computers are programmed to store only the last two digits of years because it saves storage space (Four digits Vs. Two digits). Say there’s only one day left in the year 1999 (99); a day later, the systems would fail to understand if it’s the Year 2000 (00) or 1900 (00).

  • Linux 5.9.1 And Older Stable Kernel Updates Fixing "Bleeding Tooth" Bluetooth Vulnerability Are Available - LinuxReviews

    BleedingTooth is a really bad and in theory very serious Linux kernel vulnerability. It allows someone within Bluetooth range to potentially execute code on your Linux machine thanks to a combination of improper input validation, improper buffer restrictions and improper access control in the BlueZ libraries and heap-based type confusion in the Linux kernel's L2CAP code. The practical threat isn't all that. Linux 5.9.1 as well as updates to the older "stable" kernel series (5.8.16, 5.4.72, 4.19.152, 4.14.202, 4.9.240, and 4.4.240) have been released with a patch by Intel's Luiz Augusto von Dentz addressing the Linux kernel side of the BleedingTooth vulnerability. You should upgrade to one of those if your machine has a Bluetooth adapter (most laptops do). 

  • Char/Misc With Linux 5.10 Brings Nitro Enclaves, Alder Lake, More Code For Gaudi - Phoronix

    The "char/misc" area within the Linux kernel continues to have a bit of everything as the "catch all" pull request of the kernel not fitting into other existing subsystems.  [...] - Qualcomm's MHI bus added in Linux 5.7 supports more features with Linux 5.10 albeit mostly lower-level changes.  - The Intel-owned Habana Labs continues working extensively on their upstream kernel driver supporting their AI inference and training accelerators. With Linux 5.10 is a wide range of improvements to the Habana Labs kernel code largely on the Gaudi side.  - The SoundWire code has gained support for run-time power management, including within the Intel SoundWire support paths. The Intel code also adds multi-link support and other improvements. 

  • Linux 5.10 Continues Bringing Up Support For Intel's Rocket Lake - Phoronix

    Building off Linux 5.9 that featured initial support for Gen12 graphics on next year's Rocket Lake desktop platform along with other early enablement for Rocket Lake like RAPL support and other PCI ID additions, that work has continued for the Linux 5.10 cycle.  The libata pull adds Rocket Lake PCH-H RAID PCI IDs as one of the additions.  There is also the platform-drivers-x86 work for Linux 5.10 where Rocket Lake support is added to the intel_pmc_core driver.  While the DRM code in Linux 5.9 brought initial support for Rocket Lake building off the existing Gen12 code, the DRM code for Linux 5.10 also has necessary code changes for properly driving displays with the hardware.